Friday, November 30, 2012

As We Used To Go Cousining By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

“We may yet spend many happy days where we can see each other and where our little ones can visit back and forth, as we used to go cousining.”

Dustan Walbridge wrote this in a letter home in October 1863 while fighting in the Civil War. Dustan is my first cousin four times removed, OR perhaps better to understand, he was first cousins with Daniel Rockwell Taylor, my great great grandfather.

Dustan lived in Peacham, Vermont and by January of 1864, he was a Full First Lieutenant in Vermont’s Company A, 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment. He was wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor and died at Douglass Hospital in Washington, DC in June of 1864. Dustan never did get to go cousining again.

A fellow Vermonter, Nelson Glazier, wrote home about the foods he missed while in the same Washington DC hospital as our Dustan:

“I often think of some good old Vermont dishes, such as Griddle Cakes, Boiled Victuals, Fried Potatoes, Green Sauce, Berries etc. - then I want some Johnny Cake & good fresh Butter to say nothing of a little warm maple sugar & the like - But I will pause in this long catalogue of eatables or you may almost dread to see me coming home - but never mind. I want to eat everything when I do get there.”

‘I want to eat everything when I do get there’. How I KNOW how Nelson feels—I love to come home to Mom and Dad’s and have Old Fashioned Tomato soup, watermelon pickles, or good ole’ Johnny cake. The elderberry pie I leave to my brother Dan and various cousins.

The Taylor Reunion is another wonder of food sampling—meatballs, lasagna, cookies, pies, deviled eggs, and any bounty left over from Kathy and Gordie’s garden for the taking. From what I hear and what little I remember, the Baker Reunions were also famous for their food choices.

At these Reunions and Holiday times—December is filled with opportunities--we DO get to ‘go cousining’, something I treasure and wish I had more fully appreciated when I was younger.

So as December dawns, may you enjoy many good times of food and laughter and stories told, and may you too be lucky enough to ‘ go a-cousining’.


Susan Kinsella said...

What a lovely, touching story! It hurts to know poor Dustan never did get to share that simple pleasure again.

Mom/Aunt CB said...

OH those reunions!! I remember so well those reunions at the cousins, at Sylva,s [ because she never could leave home easily because of the milking], at parks, at the Taylor home in Waterloo, [ remember watermelon?] the taylor ones we have now, and the Baker ones , started after My Mom died. I am so very sure she never missed one tho for we all spoke of her! Aunt Lil and all my sisters missed the "visits" between she and Ethel when they lay on tha bed and we all crowded in anywhere to listen!
A wonderful network we have around us , Loads of prayers and love when times are tough or just anytime. It is a blessing to know that when I am gone, you all will still be here, together. I know that Mom and Lil felt that and considered it life well lived!